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Doctors who can't see beyond a patient's weight could miss other conditions



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Fat-shaming in doctors' offices can often dissuade patients who are overweight from seeing medical professionals.

“For decades I was told to lose weight — even while I had an arrhythmia that required two different surgeries..."

“The effects are real in that if people avoid the health care system so they don’t feel like crap when they go, it might be too late when something is diagnosed that’s not related to their weight.”

https://www.scarymommy.com/cancer-patient-obituary-fat-shaming/

Edited by Missouri-Lee's Summit

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This is one of my main motivators to pursue WLS. I remember once getting the inevitable lecture when seeing a doctor about a UTI. He treated it, but wanted to spend quite a long badgering me about my weight. I came back for a followup a week later to get my blood test results, and in that week I had lost 3 lbs... a very good loss for a week I think. He spent at least 10 minutes in the followup badgering me instead of saying, "I'm glad you took my advice, good job on the loss." I didn't see a doctor after that for many years.

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Yes. 10000x yes. I have a few orthopedic issues that I had when I weighed close to 300lbs. Everyone told me they were weight related until I weighed 135. Then they found the actual issue. I had the problems for 15 years. They may certainly have been exacerbated by my weight, but they didn’t look any further than that for a cause for 15 years.

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Women, of course, get the double whammy. It's either our weight or it's all in our heads. When a man shows up at a doctor's office or the ER, they're taken more seriously. Here's the mantra I've used for years to describe the way women are viewed, especially in the ER:

"Women are just attention-seeking, drug-seeking hypochondriacs who need to lose weight."

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My experience was the complete opposite.....even though I was morbidly obese with severe lower back pain and severe asthma that occurred and got worse over the past 4 years not one of my physicians ever brought up the possibility of my weight being the cause of my issues. I think deep down I knew that it was but I could not be successful losing weight on my own.

Even my primary care doctor whom I have seen for about 12 years never said a single word about it, he just prescribed more steroids when my wheezing got worse and made referrals to a spine specialist and pulmonologist. The fact that these comorbidities are now completely resolved and I am off all medicines except Vitamins since surgery 3 months ago clearly illustrates the effects being obese can have.

I saw my PCM for something unrelated about 2 weeks ago and I asked him if he ever recommends WLS evaluation and he just shrugged and said that most people do not want to be told they are obese (like they don't know already). There is so much focus on patient satisfaction nowadays that I think doctors are afraid of saying anything that makes someone mad or unhappy. Of course, assuming that being obese is the cause of everything is just as bad.

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I had a doctor that I was seeing for the first time walk in to the room, not even say hello or introduce himself, and say "you need the surgery. You really need to get the surgery." Needless to say, I haven't gone back to him. I was 18 at the time. Now, at 28, I think my current doctor does touch on the subject, just very gently and respectful

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I think this was more about doctors who are presented with general conditions that might be something else. The woman in the article had cancer. Her complaints were dismissed as weight-related. Lower back pain and asthma are common co-morbid conditions among people with obesity. But what if your complaint was fatigue, pain, fever, indigestion, trouble swallowing, or a change in bowel habits or urinary function? Some symptoms are insidious.

It's great that your doctors were attentive.

I also think it's imperative for patients to be self-advocates, which is hard when you're being fat-shamed about your weight. If doctors are so afraid of saying things that might make their patients mad or unhappy, then perhaps they would be more inclined to run tests or not dismiss general complaints as weight related. It's hard to stand up to doctors. They can be intimidating. I can't do much about the specialists I see, but it's important to at least find a primary doctor that isn't a doorknob doctor (a doctor who has their hand on the doorknob during your visits) listens.

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I had severe knee pain for years and went to at least 6 different orthopedic docs. They all told me to lose weight and my knee would stop hurting. They never ordered an MRI and I was mortified to push for it (my mistake). I finally found a surgeon that took my pain seriously and immediately ordered an MRI. They immediately saw several tears and I went in for surgery. Not only was the damage much worse than the MRI showed, but at 34, I had acute osteoarthritis due to the tears that went untreated for so many years. They cleaned up what they could and when I woke up, they told me I needed a total knee replacement. I held off for another year and had to get a new knee at 36.

Sent from my SM-G960U using BariatricPal mobile app

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@TexasMommy80 This is so much like my own story. I had two osteochondral lesions and a brevis tear (on my right ankle); however, that wasn't found out until I insisted on an MRI. After walking around on my "weight-related problem"* for almost a year ("just walk it off; it's just a sprain. Lose weight and it'll feel better"), the damage was compounded. Arthritis and other conditions had developed by then making matters worse. I eventually had ankle surgery, but the damage was already too extensive. The pain in my ankle is something I live with every day (and take morphine for). Had I been taken seriously, perhaps it would have never gotten to that point. By the way, two different ankle reconstruction surgeons have since told me "There's nothing more we can do, sorry."

*My injury was related to a fall down some stairs. Actually, something in my ankle gave out and then I fell, but that wasn't important enough to know. My weight was "the real problem". Oh, and... my first MRI was one paragraph long. After of year of walking around on a seriously injured ankle without treatment, my MRI report turned into one and a half pages.

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@TexasMommy80. I've had both knees replaced (full replacements), done three months apart. I've also had my MTP joints (in my big toes) fused together.

Edited by Missouri-Lee's Summit

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Oh Missouri-Lee's Summit this sounds pretty familiar. I was told I had a sprained ankle , get your fat self up and walk, many people have ankle injuries, don't be a wuss. Keep insisting , annoyed them into testing me,more, turns out I had an avulsion Fx of both tibia and fibula, too late to cast it, not surgery is your best option at this point yadda yadda yadda. Like you, no repair. I will always wonder if I had been 80 or 180 instead of 280, would it have been repaired? Of course I was a fat 👧, an attentional seeker out to make something out of nothing at all. Am I bitter? Yep just like a jar of alum.😪☁

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@Frustr8 Yep. Just another "attention-seeking, drug-seeking hypochondriac who needs to lose weight."

Hey, I need to create an easier way to say my ER /doctor's office rant phrase... hm.

ASDSH - who needs to lose weight

Said out loud:

ASDSH = "ASS-DISH who needs to lose weight." That's it, Frustr8, to doctors and other medical personnel: "We're ass-dishes who need to lose weight."

Edited by Missouri-Lee's Summit

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You know I do like this term, to the uninformed we sould like " babies who got back" How I got my nothing-wrong injury? I was out fishing and stepped in an animal hole. In attempting b to extricate my foot I felt popping and tearing and an extremely sharp pain. See I am an Asshat- Extraordinaire, I did this injury just to be the center of the Universe. How unnessarily evil of my maladjusted life. But we doctors know obese women are emotionally,impaired otherwise they would commit to losing weight the "normal, natural" way.

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18 hours ago, Missouri-Lee's Summit said:

@TexasMommy80. I've had both knees replaced (full replacements), done three months apart. I've also had my MTP joints (in my big toes) fused together.

Oh wow, I can't imagine having two. I am in physical therapy right now, my surgeon said that I need larger plastic inserts in my TKR. I am grasping for anything to not have to have another surgery, but the therapy doesn't seem to be helping the pain. The surgeon didn't have much hope that it would, but I had to try.

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I'm glad that I buckled down and finished both knees. I was bone-on-bone with the first one, and almost there with the second. It wasn't easy, but it's behind me now. I don't regret having them done.

I was placed in a live-in rehab facility for five days for my first knee. With the second, only one day in rehab. I was able to pass all of the PT's walking, bending, and stair-climbing tests and I was discharged from rehab. I then had a PT come to my home for about 6 weeks (2 days a week) to do various treatments, but I eventually "graduated" from those, too.

Believe it or not, having the MTP joints in my big toes fused were the toughest surgeries because I wasn't allowed to walk or even stand for 6-8 weeks. I had to wheel around on a hotrod all-terrain scooter-- with a little wire basket in front! And because the surgeries were done separately, I had two different recovery periods of 6-8 weeks.

Ah, the good ol' days...

51nNmFDeTzL._SL250_.jpg

Edited by Missouri-Lee's Summit

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